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Call to Conversation

 “God’s Kingdom is like a mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.”

Every day Australians face challenges. Many feel isolated as they grapple with mental illness, ageing, financial hardship, homelessness, or life with disability. Every day Australians also seek hope; they seek more fulfilling ways to learn, love, and grow.

As the Uniting Church in Australia, we reach out to these people. A living organism of thousands of congregations, staff and volunteers nationwide, we span across the country to make a difference in communities. We are diverse; our backgrounds, beliefs and passions are varied. But we have one thing in common: through God’s love we are compelled to be people caring for people. As followers of Jesus, we each stand for safer, fairer, brighter and better – not only for those we serve but all of humanity.

We have been gathering and serving humanity for generations. We acknowledge with gratitude the churches from which we have come have contributed to the life and development of this nation. From growing gardens locally to establishing organisations like LifeLine nationally, the seeds we’ve sown as passionate individuals and congregations have taken root and become bigger than we ever could have imagined when they were first planted.

The future of our church is in working together. Through all parts of the Uniting Church, let’s unite our individual strengths to create something bigger than the sum of its parts.

But communities are changing rapidly. People are changing. Needs are changing. The role of the church is changing. And until now, we haven’t been changing fast enough.

We are called to be the ‘yeast, salt and light’ – and it’s time to renew this calling. We need to once again become yeast equipped to permeate the dough around us, and ensure we haven’t lost our soul and our saltiness. We need to start a conversation that now cuts across our structures in a way we never have before, to ensure our shared purpose and impact on the world continues for this generation and those to come. As people journeying together we need to partner with our communities and empower them to solve problems locally. We hope and work for a nation whose goals are not guided by self-interest alone, but by concern for the welfare of people everywhere.

While our core ethos will always remain, the way we love, live and seek reconciliation cannot be the same as it was 40 years ago. This may bring some sadness, but we acknowledge this and move forward to live, evolve and endure as a church. We are here to support those who need us. And as they change, we must turn towards them and find ways to adapt and renew ourselves.

Let’s celebrate our strong legacy, and also look to the future . The future of our church is in working together. Through all parts of the Uniting Church, let’s unite our individual strengths to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. We need to find creative ways to engage with our changing communities, savouring moments where we see God connect with the lives of others. We need to pursue our personal passions to advocate goodness, and work even harder to enable the passions of others. We need to be willing and open, giving one another permission to create and embrace change.

As the mustard seed grows, together we grow possibilities. Together we are stronger. Together we grow possibility. Together we become partners for the greater good. Together we continue to show courage as agents of change, leading and serving people, working alongside our communities and, ultimately, improving lives.